Tuesday, July 5, 2011

9 Famous Walls Worldwide

For a long time, especially during ancient time, walls have played an important role in marking borders and preventing enemies from invading in kingdoms and settlements. However, walls are nowadays used as memorials and state-of-the-art sculptures in addition to original functions. Below are the list of the most famous walls around the world recognized as international tourism spots.

1. The Great Wall of China
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The Great Wall of China was built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD) between 220–206 BC by the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang and rebuilt between the 5th century BC and the 16th century. The Great Wall of China stretching for 8,851.8 kilometers (5,500.3 miles) is one of the most famous walls in the world. Contrary to popular belief this wall has not been seen from the moon (so far) however satellites in Earth's orbit can detect its shape.

2. Western Wall, Jerusalem, Israel
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The Western Wall, also called the Wailing Wall, is a well-known Jewish religious destination in the world. The Western Wall, situated in the Old City of Jerusalem, was built from the end of the Second Temple period around 19 BC by Herod the Great. Nowadays, it becomes the pilgrimage location for Jews.

3. Great Zimbabwe Walls, Zimbabwe
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The Great Zimbabwe, constructed by indigenous Bantu people during the 11th century is 11 meters (36 ft) high extending nearly 250 meter (820 ft). In fact, the 300-year-old wall is a complex of stone ruins stretching over a large area of Zimbabwe and featuring as the greatest ancient structure in the south of the Sahara Desert. There are about 18,000 residents living nearby the Great Zimbabwe at present.

4. Sacsayhuamán, Peru
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Sacsayhuamán is an Inca walled complex high above the city of Cusco in Peru. The imperial city Cusco, was laid out in the form of a puma, the animal that symbolized the Inca dynasty. The belly of the puma was the main plaza, the river Tullumayo formed its spine, and the hill of Sacsayhuamán its head. There are three parallel walls built in different levels with lime stones of enormous sizes. It is suggested that the zigzagging walls represent the teeth of the puma’s head.
The boulders used for the first or lower levels are the biggest. The largest is 8.5 meter high (28 ft) and weights about 140 metric tons. The wall is built in such a way that a single piece of paper will not fit between many of the stones. This precision, combined with the variety of their interlocking shapes, and the way the walls lean inward, is thought to have helped the ruins survive the devastating earthquakes in Cuzco.

5. Berlin Wall, Germany
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Construction of the Berlin Wall began in 1961. It was a desperate but effective move by East Germany to stop East Berliners escaping from the Soviet-controlled East German state into the West of the city, which was then occupied by the Americans, British and French. During the Wall’s existence, around 5,000 people attempted to escape circumventing the wall, with estimates of the resulting death toll varying between 98 and 200. As the Iron Curtain cracked in 1989 hundreds of citizens began physically tearing down the concrete division. Today remnants of the Berlin Wall can be found at Bernauer Strasse and in front of the Neiderkirchnerstrasse, the former Prussian Parliament and current Berlin Parliament.

6. Hadrian's Wall, UK
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Made from stone and turf, Hadrian's Wall stretches for 117km (73mi) across the entire width of Northern England and was made a World Heritage Site in 1987. It was built by the Romans as a defensive measure to keep Barbarians out and today acts as a popular destination for walkers and tourists.

7. Walls of Babylon, Iraq
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Walls of Babylon, constructed around 575 BC, is recognized as among the greatest Seven Wonders in the world. The two walls of Babylon, Imgur-Nemed-Enlil and Enlil were the Pyramids of Giza during the Neo-Babylonian Empire. They are situated around 17.5m (57 ft) from the city center with the thickness of 27 to 30 meters (89-98 ft) and the height of 25 meters to 30 meters (82-98 ft).

8. Walls of Ston, Croatia
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The Walls of Ston, completed in the 15th century with 40 towers and 5 fortresses is nearly 5.5 kilometer (3.5 mile) long connecting two small communities. In fact, the Walls of Ston is a series of defensive stone walls located on the peninsula Peljesac in southern Croatia. 
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The wall was built to protect the precious salt pans playing an important role for Dubrovnik’s wealth.

9. Walls of Troy, Turkey
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Walls of Troy, indeed is an ancient city ranked in the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1998. Walls of Troy is located in the northwest Anatolia (Turkey), the southeast of the Dardanelles and beside Mount Ida. After recognized as the UNESCO World Heritage, Walls of Troy has become an attractive destination for visitors around the world. The spot is not only well-known for ancient beauty, but also as a commercialized site, with shops, a museum, and a large wooden horse used as a playground for kids.
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  1. Nice collection of walls but I feel there's a glaring omission to this list. The city of Lugo, Spain is surrounded by a massive Roman wall which I have had the pleasure of walking on over 20 years ago and memories of it stay vivid in my mind. I've quoted a bit of the Wikipedia entry about it that sums it up better than I could:
    "Lugo is the only city in the world to be surrounded by completely intact Roman walls, which reach a height of 10 to 15 metres along a 2117 m circuit ringed with 71 towers. The walk along the top is continuous round the circuit, and features ten gates. These 3rd century walls are protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The bridge over the Minho is essentially of Roman date, though many repairs over the centuries have effaced its Roman character."

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